We always hear many telling us to do breast self-exams and get mammograms to prevent getting breast cancer. Well, is that all we need to do?
The first thing one needs to do is to gain information on breast cancer. This facts can create awareness on breast cancer, reduce risk of breast cancer and save your life or the life of a loved one. One will become more empowered with all this info and act accordingly.
Hence, hoping the 5 facts below will empower you.
Fact 1: Is breast cancer more common in the left or right breast?
Breast cancer is 5-10% more likely to occur in the left breast than the right breast. Most breasts are usually not perfectly symmetrical and in many woman, the left breast is slightly larger than the right one. The larger breast usually has more glandular tissue thus increasing the risk of developing breast cancer.
Fact 2: Can breast cancer be mistaken?
Most lumps in the breast are non-cancerous or benign and the most common types of these lumps are:
• Ductal or lobular hyperplasia
• Fat necrosis
A diagnosis and biopsy is usually done to ensure that the lump is not invasive.
Fact 3: Is breast cancer genetically influenced?
Only 5-10% of women who have had breast cancer developed the disease due to genetics. The most prevalent genetic cause of breast cancer is a mutation in the genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Still, a woman whose family members have suffered from breast cancer have a much higher chance of getting the disease than the rest of the population. A woman whose parent, sibling or child has had breast cancer is about twice as likely to get the disease, and those who have more than one close relative with it triple their odds of getting it.
Fact 4: What are the common symptoms of breast cancer?
Breast cancer symptoms vary greatly from women to women. However, don’t assume that one is cancer free because they do not have the typical symptoms. Some women with breast cancer don’t have symptoms at all. This makes regular breast checks especially important.
Nevertheless, below are the common breast cancer symptoms:
- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit)
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area of the breast
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
- Pain in any area of the breast
Always keep an eye on any anomalies at one’s breast area.
Fact 5: How to decrease breast cancer risk?
Breast cancer cannot be prevented, but there are things such as good diet, exercise, stress management and other healthy lifestyle choices that can help decrease risk of breast cancer.
1. National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc. Breast Cancer Facts & Stats.